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Poetry Out Loud : Testimonial

Poetry inspired me today. I was reading about an event called “Art Squared,” set to take place in Fountain Square on Saturday, September 17, 2011. As part of this event, a person can take the opportunity to participate in the popular Masterpiece in a Day, a one-day (of course) art, music and writing competition.

Make art. Be art. Buy art.

But writing? In the past, I had overlooked this element of the competition, and was interested in learning more. Plus, participation is FREE. Most of the time, artists pay for even the chance at getting work out to a larger audience. This was great.
Masterpiece in a Day Participants
The rules for writing require the participant to choose from three elements in three categories, and incorporate those elements into his or her story or prose. One of the key elements is a series of pre-selected poetry. So, to avoid doing any real work this morning, I read every single poem. One of them brought tears. This is it:

Testimonial By Rita Dove


Back when the earth was new

and heaven just a whisper,
back when the names of things
hadn’t had time to stick;
back when the smallest breezes
melted summer into autumn,
when all the poplars quivered
sweetly in rank and file . . .
the world called, and I answered.
Each glance ignited to a gaze.
I caught my breath and called that life,
swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet.
I was pirouette and flourish,
I was filigree and flame.
How could I count my blessings
when I didn’t know their names?
Back when everything was still to come,
luck leaked out everywhere.
I gave my promise to the world,
and the world followed me here.

Rita Dove, “Testimonial” from On the Bus With Rosa Parks. Copyright © 1999 by Rita Dove. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc..Source: Poetry (January 1998).

Here is the website where I found the work: Poetry Out Loud : Testimonial. You can read a lot more.
Taking the time to read poetry is akin to meditation. You cannot go fast. You cannot push for the finish line. You cannot…compete with others. There you sit, you and your thoughts, savoring words in moments of quiet like the most delicious meal you have ever tasted. Opening up to the feelings the words evoke, you understand now the quiet power wrought by the gentle manipulation of letters, the ordering of simple vowels and consonants written in language common to us all. Marveling at what only a rare few are able to ignite into emotion.
My luck leaked out everywhere today, over filigree and flame, because of Janet Dove.
Interested in registering for the Fountain Square Art Fair “Masterpiece in a Day” competition? Go here.

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